The best online stock trading platforms have low fees and minimum required account balance, while still offering a large selection of tools and customer support. Technology has changed the way people trade stocks, and more and more people are buying and selling stocks online at home, and saving money in fees from traditional brokers. With so many brokers entering the market, it can be difficult to pick which one is the ideal one for you. The Groovewallet team analyzed and compared the top online brokers, depending on what your investment goals are, and what kinds of features you’re looking for.
The best overall online broker for stock trading is Fidelity. Along with their investing tools, research, and education available for users, they have no account minimums and no fees for stock and ETF trades. They charge a small fee of $0.65/contract for options trade, which is much less than many other platforms. One of the best features of Fidelity is that they automatically earn you interest on uninvested cash by putting it into a money market fund.
TD Ameritrade is known as one of the best platforms for beginners because of their guidance and education for first-time investors. If you’re new to stock trading and want the easiest place to get started, TD Ameritrade is likely going to be the most helpful. You’ll get access to their TD Ameritrade Network, which offers 9 hours of live education/research programming. They also have no account minimums and no fees for stocks and ETF trades. They charge $0.65/contract for options trades.
Robinhood took the millennial market by storm by coming out with their completely commission-free trading platform in 2013. What really set them apart was their user experience and design. Compared to a lot of other older platforms that look dated, they branded themselves as sleek, modern, and cutting edge. It may feel a little bit more limited with not as many options, but they do this purposely to create a simpler, easier-to-use experience. They don’t have as extensive research material and education offerings as other platforms we mentioned already, but their main selling point is being completely free, including for options trading and cryptocurrencies.
If you’re looking for options trading, the best online broker for you is Tastyworks. Over 90% of Tastywork’s trades from their users are derivatives. To accommodate this select group of higher-risk users, their platform is full of tools, research, and analysis for derivatives trading. Everything is more optimized for better options trading, including the education offered for users. You still can trade stocks on their platform. They have no account minimums, no fees for trading stocks, and $1 to open an options trade and no fee to close.
Advanced stocks traders may prefer the more sophisticated order types and faster execution speeds of Interactive Brokers. Along with no account minimums and small fees of $0.005 per share ($0 if you use their Lite platform), you’ll get access to 60 different order types. It’s also ideal for international trading, as it gives access to 125 different exchanges across 31 countries. If you’re looking for an exchange to trade stocks on that other brokers don’t offer, you’ll likely find it on Interactive Brokers.
If the bulk of your investments will go to exchange-traded funds, also known as ETFs, Charles Schwab offers the best screeners, resources, and platform for ETF trading. They also provide zero account minimums, and no fees for trading stocks and ETFs. For options, they charge $0.65 per contract. You’ll also get access to their library of research and newsfeeds from their premium publications such as MarketEdge, Business Wire, Schwab Investing Insights Brief, and more.
Things to consider when choosing an online broker
If you’re brand new to investing: You’ll want a reasonably low investment minimum, low fees, and a broker that offers the best education and learning resources to help get you started.
If you’re a novice or expert investor: You’ve likely tried a few online brokers already and know what you’re looking for. Depending on your investment goals, strategy, and your investment amount, you want to consider things like what fees, resources, customer support offered, and the best fit broker for your specific strategy. For example, if your strategy consists of active trading, you want to find a broker with low or no commissions.